Before you use a resource for an assignment, whether from a book, journal, or online source, it is important to evaluate it.
This is a quick guide to help you know what to watch for when you select your sources.
1. Title may/may not indicate scholarship with words in title such as “journal” or “review” or “research.”
2. Main purpose is original research or thinking.
3. Will nearly always have an abstract (descriptive summary of the research) written by the author.
4. Language of the article assumes technical background knowledge.
5. Author is usually a scholar or researcher. Usually affiliated with an academic community
6. May contain graphics, illustrations, charts, etc. as supporting evidence.
7. Article has been evaluated by “peers” – other experts in the field who agree that the research meets standards, is original and adds to the scholarly conversation.
8. The length of the article is usually more than 4-5 pages. Can be quite lengthy!
9. Method of study is generally acceptable within the discipline of study. The academy determines this.
10. A scholarly article will always have a list of references used (footnotes and bibliography.)
11. Reputable scholarly articles will not heavily rely on websites, news sources, but will use previous scholarly research.
Here is a short view on the peer-review system of articles and why it is important to find articles that have this criteria.